We put our Christmas tree up today. I find a lot of symbolism in a Christmas tree. Please know I understand what something symbolizes to me may symbolize something completely different to you, or possibly nothing at all.
But the first thing I notice about a Christmas tree is its shape. Sort of an upside down funnel. And how appropriate. A funnel pointed in the right direction, with a little help from gravity, easily transports all that pours in it to the right place. As for an upside down funnel, well, I’ve never used one, but I imagine it would take a lot of work to make sure it’s contents reach the desired destination. If gravity would tolerate such a thing.
I believe experiencing the true joy of Christmas is worth such an effort.
I look at the Christmas tree. It’s bulky base sheltering mounds of gifts. It would be easy to stop right there, to rejoice in wish list turned 50” flat screen television. But there is more to it than that. Although the tree is an upside down funnel, it is still a funnel. And all funnels point somewhere. The Christmas tree begs us to start at the bottom, to enjoy our gifts, but to also consider the rest of the tree that when followed upward narrows to a point like a mighty arrow – aimed squarely at heaven.
At that top of our tree, like many, is a star. It makes me think of the wise men. How they saw the star of Bethlehem and believed it to be the star that would lead them to the new born King. Without much thought, or planning, they set out following the star. People must have thought they were crazy. It’s not like they packed up their SUV and plugged coordinates for a nearby manger into the dashboard GPS. No. They walked. For months, maybe even a couple of years, with faith that the star they were following would lead them to the baby Jesus. And they weren’t looking for gifts. They were delivering them. It’s sort of the Christmas tree upside down. Star first. Gifts later.
They eventually found that Baby. And they delivered their gifts.
This Christmas, when we rise from the rubble beneath the tree, may I suggest that we look up. Follow the ornaments and trails of lights that wind their way up the pine branches until you find the star. And like the wise men, follow that star to the Baby in a manger.